By Spc. Jazz Burney, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry DivisionFebruary 9, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Just three months after returning from a year-long deployment to Northern Iraq, the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division ("Broncos") received new commanders for its six battalions during a week of ceremonies at Sills Field Jan. 26-28.
The ceremonies honored outgoing commanders and welcomed new commanders, many of whom have long-standing ties to the brigade and Hawaii.
Lt. Col. David Hodne passed the 3rd Squadron, 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment colors to Lt. Col. Jerry Turner during the first ceremony of the week, Jan. 26.
Hodne thanked his troopers for the teamwork that made the squadron so successful and praised their honorable service.
"This formation represents a mere fraction of America, unknown to most," said Hodne. "In an age when so many people and institutions act irresponsibly, [these troopers] do the opposite. They volunteered to bear the heaviest burden. They understand that character counts."
Col. Walter E. Piatt, the brigade commander, praised the Raider troopers for their service in Iraq and in particular, for their economic revitalization efforts.
Troopers from the unit worked on 77 infrastructure reconstruction projects and assisted local businessmen with more than 600 micro grants that helped create 4,000 jobs in the ethnically diverse area around Balad.
The 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion bid farewell to Lt. Col. Christopher Stenman Jan. 26 and welcomed Lt. Col. Douglas Jones.
The STB operated throughout Salah ad Din and Kirkuk provinces and its Soldiers partnered with Iraqi leaders.
Computer technicians worked side by side with military police and lawyers to improve jails and courthouses. Soldiers from the battalion trained policemen in Tuz and met with college students in Tikrit to help them practice their English language skills.
Lt. Col. Mark Shade passed the reins of the 325th Brigade Support Battalion ("Mustangs") to Lt. Col. Joseph Morrow Jan. 27.
The BSB transported everything from 30-ton generators and hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel to enough concrete barriers to create secure polling sites and shore up eroding bridge foundations during their deployment.
Mustang Soldiers also partnered with Iraqi Soldiers and trained them on equipment maintenance, convoy operations and weapons marksmanship.
Leadership of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery passed from Lt. Col. Glenn Waters to Lt. Col. Richard Kelling Jan. 27. The "Steel" battalion operated in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown.
Their efforts helped turn a generally anti-American sentiment into a close working partnership by the end of their tour.
The battalion's focus on education resulted in dozens of school construction projects and set the groundwork for a more prosperous future.
The Wolfhounds of 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment saw Lt. Col. Raul Gonzalez turn over the unit to Lt. Col. Daniel Wilson Jan. 28.
The Wolfhounds have longstanding ties to Hawaii, dating back to 1921. To add to their considerable historical accomplishments, the Wolfhounds helped rebuild critical economic infrastructure in Bayji, including an oil refinery that is a key national asset, a power plant that supplies power to most of Northern Iraq, a rail road depot, a vegetable oil plant and fertilizer factory.
In the last ceremony of the week, Lt. Col. Samuel Whitehurst transferred command to Lt. Col. Colin Tuley Jan. 28.
Along with the Wolfhounds, the Cacti also have deep roots in Hawaii. The battalion most recently operated in Samarra and issued more than 1,000 micro grants worth $2.1 million to help merchants there benefit from the millions of visitors to the Golden Dome Mosque, a sacred Shia shrine.
The new commanders will guide their battalions through a reset period and train Soldiers for future missions.